If you are reading this article you probably are upset about the move MailChimp is making to raise the prices of Mandrill, their transactional email service, by as much as 4x.
If you haven’t heard the news yet, MailChimp has informed their customers that they are bringing Mandrill back into the MailChimp system and requiring Mandrill users to have a paid MailChimp account.
This move means that you will need to have at least the cheapest MailChimp account (currently around $20/month) and then in order to use Mandrill in the future you will have to purchase “blocks” of Mandrill credits which are sold for $20/month. So now, users that send all their transactional emails from their WordPress site through Mandrill will now have to spend around $40/month to continue.
What are WordPress transactional emails?
Transactional emails in WordPress are any server-related or informational emails your WordPress site or plugins might be sending out.
Examples of WordPress transactional emails include:
- If you have WordPress send you emails about new users.
- If a plugin alerts you to a new subscriber to your newsletter.
- If you receive notifications that a comment has been made on your site.
- When your WordPress site is auto-updated and you receive a message about the successful update.
- When iThemes Security notifies you of a locked out user or IP address.
So you can see that transactional emails are vital to the ongoing management of many WordPress sites.
Why use an outside transactional email service when your server could just as well send those emails for you?
There are many reasons but one of the biggest reasons is that you don’t want to put your hosting server and IP address in jeopardy in case a truck load of emails get sent out at once because something occurred on your WordPress site. If you had a large community site and it was set to email all users when comments or new posts were made. This might cause your hosting server/IP address/domain name to be labeled as a SPAM originator. And that is something you do not want to deal with. The process of removing your domain from many of these SPAM databases are very time consuming.
What are other options if Mandrill won’t work for me?
Mailjet seems to focus itself around the flexibility of using templates for all their emails… even transactional emails. Mailjet also has its own API for customization and even a simple way of creating SMTP relays. The premium levels also have an easy to use comparison A/B email testing system.
- You can send up to 200 emails a day and there is a cap of 6,000 emails a month.
PAID plans start at 30,000 monthly emails for $7.49 and then it goes up from there.
SendinBlue can do most of the basics (even on the free level). There is a full API that opens the door for complex integration and the generation of detailed reports. You can handle your marketing emails, drip campaigns, transactional emails and even SMS messages.
- SendinBlue allows you to send up to 300 emails a day with a cap of 9,000 emails for the entire month.
PAID plans start at 40,000 emails for only $7.37 and go up from there.
SendGrid seems to have a lot of large companies using their service (Uber, Airbnb, Spotify). So the services they offer are quite robust along with the flexibility of their API. SendGrid also has a number of video and written tutorials to help you get started.
- This is one of the larger free options with 12,000 monthly emails being sent for free.
PAID plans start at 40,000/emails for $9.95 and go up from there.
The amount of free emails you get with Amazon SES may make it worth it to go through the hassle of setting up and verifying all your domain details. It could be the perfect tool for your WordPress site to send transactional emails due to the pricing structure that is so friendly to small businesses.
- You can send 62,000 emails through Amazon SES a month for free
There is only one PAID plan after you surpass 62,000 emails, and then it will cost you about $0.00001 per email. 🙂
Mailgun seems to have an approach that mirrors SendGrid but is at a cheaper price point. If you only need to send transactional emails from your WordPress site, the API and integration of Mailgun may be the easiest to use.
- You can send 10,000 emails a month for free.
PAID plans are priced at sending up to 500,000 emails at $0.0005/each.
Postmark focuses on the tracking and analytics of transactional emails. In fact it only does transactional emails so once you verify your email/domain information you can be on your way to 100% inbox delivery rates.
- You can try Postmark for free using 25,000 email credits. (There are other ways to earn free credits as well.)
PAID plans depend on how many credits you want to purchase, you have to prepay for your emails, and it ranges from $1.50 / 1000 emails down to $0.25 / 1000 emails based on how many you purchase.
How Do I Connect One of These Transactional Email Services to WordPress?
The easiest way to make sure your WordPress site starts sending all the transactional emails generated from WordPress and plugins is to use a plugin called WP Mail SMTP. This plugin reconfigures wp_mail() and forces everything to use your new transactional email sending service.